Pakistan safe for touring teams: Imran Khan

Sydney, Oct 11 (UNI) Despite the recent spate of bomb blasts in the country, former captain Imran Khan has said visiting cricket teams have nothing to fear from terrorists in Pakistan.

The national team has been hit hard by the numerous bombings which have taken place in Pakistan this year with several teams, including Australia and West Indies, refusing to play in the country due to fears over security.

The prestigious Champions Trophy, which was to be hosted by Pakistan in October, was also postponed until next year by the International Cricket Council (ICC).

But Imran insisted that the popularity of cricket in the country will prevent the terrorists from targetting the players.

''I never thought that cricketers were going to ever be threatened at all, simply because cricket is such a passion in the country that terrorists would never dare to do it because they would not want the people to turn against them,'' Imran told 'The Weekend Australian'.

''They rely on public sympathy, which they have right now because the American war on terror, amongst the masses, is seen to be a war against Islam. So they have their sympathy,'' he added.

The legendary all-rounder who captained Pakistan to World Cup glory however, felt that cricket boards in other countries were justified for being concerned over the safety of their players.

''Personally I would not worry about these things (security concerns). But I can imagine other people worrying about them.

It hasn't helped when you're sitting outside and you have news coming in of the Marriott being bombed, although the tour was cancelled before the Marriott,'' he stated.

The Pakistan team is yet to play a Test or one-dayer on home soil this year and is at present playing their first tournament - a Twenty20 event - in Canada.


Story first published: Saturday, October 11, 2008, 21:03 [IST]
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